While Obama is trying to build a NATO alliance on his Asia “pivot” foray, now better characterized as his “Asia stumble,” China is moving forward on its New Silk Road development policy. A signal piece in this week’s Beijing Review entitled “The New Asian Fusion” by Lu Xin from the Center for Russian and Asian Studies at the Shanghai Institute of International Studies, underlines the importance of the Silk Road Initiatives for countering the Obama offensive. Discussing the upcoming Shanghai summit next month of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building in Asia (CICA), an initiative of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev to secure peace and security in Asia, he notes that the CICA can become an important focus for furthering the New Silk Road policy of President Xi Jinping….
“The initiatives of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the Maritime Silk Road of the 21st Century proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping will become an important driving force for economic cooperation among CICA member states. The two initiatives have formed a new pattern for China’s all-round opening up and a new framework for its neighborhood diplomacy, marking a substantial change in its opening-up strategy. The country is moving away from its strict focus on attracting foreign investment, seeking equilibrium between foreign investment and investment overseas. As it reaches out to countries to its west, China will speed up the development of its western region.”
He then refers to the new transportation links through Central Asia and the development of a China-Pakistan Economic Corridor as well as a Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor. The Maritime Silk Road, Li notes, can also be extended to the north, to Vladivostok and northern Siberia,
“connecting with Russia’s Arctic Sea routes and strengthening cooperation on the construction of infrastructure such as ports between China and Russia…. The current Western sanctioning triggered by the Ukrainian crisis,” Li continues, “has further forced Moscow to shift its strategic focus eastward, urging Russia’s eastern region to join the Asia-Pacific’s political and economic integration process. The further development of the region including the reconstruction of the Trans-Siberian Railway, energy resource exploitation, infrastructure construction as well as agricultural development, calls for in-depth international financial and technological collaboration. Against this backdrop, China and Russia need to renew their regional development cooperation plan for China’s northeast and Russia’s Far East reached in 2009 to further facilitate their cooperation.”